Identifying the economic, environmental, and social impacts of overnight, indoor lighting on Dalhousie University’s Studley campus.
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The objective of completing our research project was to comprehend an understanding of the social, environmental, and economic impacts that interior overnight light wastage has on Dalhousie University’s Studley campus. By developing an understanding of these impacts to the university, we aimed to create change and push towards a sustainable alternative to resolve this issue and other associated issues. To help create an understanding of the various social, environmental, and economic impacts we conducted an interview with the Director of Security, Michael Burns. This interview allowed us to identify the university’s current policies regarding lighting. We also conducted campus-wide interior and exterior light audits of a number of academic buildings to provide primary data that would answer our research question. From our light audit, we concluded which buildings use the most energy, which ones waste the most energy overnight, and which ones are the most sustainable when comparing the whole sample. The results of our light audit showed that the Killam Library, Life Sciences Centre, Sir James Dunn building, Student Union building, and Weldon Law building were the top five buildings with the highest associated economic costs. We also collected light pollution measurement readings to gain more depth of understanding in regards to the social, environmental, and economic impacts. The results from this showed that areas beside the Student Union building and the Marion McCain Arts and Social Science building showed the highest light pollution levels on campus. After gaining the results on the economic and social impacts, we conducted and produced the results of the environmental impacts of overnight light usage and light pollution. These results showed that the equivalent amount of CO2 that was created by this energy wastage was approximately 675 689 lbs per year. Overall, we concluded with the recommendation that Dalhousie University continues with the current retrofitting of lights on campus to increase the use of more efficient products, as well as promote best behavioural practices for all students, staff and faculty on campus to effectively tackle the negative impacts of light waste.